Many residents of Knoxville probably just know that spinal cord injuries are serious affairs.

One’s spinal cord, which runs down the back, serves as the main communication channel between the brain and the rest of the body. When it gets damaged, the brain can no longer efficiently send signals below the site of the injury.

At the very worst, a victim will suffer complete paralysis from the neck down and will likely require constant medical care.

Others who suffer what doctors call an incomplete spinal cord injury may have some ability to move, but they still will likely suffer some severe complications, including infertility, incontinence and constant pain.

Spinal cord injuries happen for a number of reasons. Motor vehicle accidents account for almost half of all new spine injuries annually, making them the most common cause of spinal cord injuries.

Falling is another common cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for over 30% of new injuries each year. Among those over 65, falling is the most common cause of spinal cord injuries.

Other common reasons for spinal cord injuries include violence, including wounds from gunshots or knives. Sports and recreational activities also commonly cause spinal cord injuries.

The sad thing is that so many of these severe injuries are completely preventable. For example, the negligence of a drunk, careless or distracted driver too frequently leave innocent people paralyzed.

Likewise, falls often happen because of the negligence of a property owner, a caregiver or someone else who could have prevented a fall by exercising a little caution.

Victims of spinal cord injuries may have the legal option to pursue compensation for their losses.